All posts by Clare Hopping

CompTIA exam aims to boost cloud comprehension in business

Clare Hopping

30 Apr, 2019

CompTIA has unveiled an overhaul of its Cloud Essentials+ beta exam, ensuring those undertaking the qualification have up to date skills to sell the cloud into their businesses.

The exam has between 80% and 90% new content for students to pass, addressing scenarios and skills needed to help businesses make decisions about cloud products and services.

“The cloud has sparked an evolution in thinking about the role of technology; from a behind-the-scenes tactical tool to a valuable strategic asset that turns businesses into digital organisations and makes greater innovation possible,” said Dr James Stanger, chief technology evangelist at CompTIA.

The CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ beta exam includes content such as how to conduct a comprehensive cloud assessment, the business, financial and operational implications of moving to the cloud and security, risk management and compliance threats and solutions.

It also includes a section on new technologies business may want to integrate into their cloud strategies such as data analytics, the Internet of Things and blockchain.

“To unlock its true value, decision-makers must have a clear understanding about cloud technologies and their potential business impacts,” Stanger continued.

“Individuals who are CompTIA Cloud Essentials+ certified have demonstrated that they have the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and recommendations on the business case for the cloud.”

As a completely vendor-neutral qualification, CompTIA said its certification varies greatly to its competitors.

Candidates wishing to undertake the exam should have between six and 12 months experience working as an analyst in an IT environment, with some cloud exposure.

AWS keeps driving Amazon profits as more move to the cloud

Clare Hopping

29 Apr, 2019

Amazon has unveiled record high profits, obtaining more than double the levels investors were predicting, with much of its gains coming from the AWS division.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of Cloud Pro that the cloud arm of Amazon is reeling in the most cash of all its parts, achieving $7.7 billion in revenue ($2.2 billion profit), which represents a 41% year-on-year growth.

However, its cloud revenues of $7.7 billion only represented 13% of the company’s total revenues over the first quarter of the year, but taking almost half of its total profits – demonstrating just how profitable the division is for the company’s bottom line.

There were some big cloud achievements for the firm over the quarter, including the launch of the AWS Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) Region, and announcing plans for the AWS Asia Pacific (Jakarta) Region, the launch of Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive, Concurrency Scaling for Amazon Redshift and general availability of Amazon EFS Infrequent Access.

Plus new business from some of the world’s biggest companies including Volkswagen, Ford, Lyft and Gogo had a positive impact on its cloud business.

Revenues for the entire company hit a Wall Street-beating $59.7 billion, although spending on technology such as AI and smart homes has also increased, meaning profits weren’t as high as they could have been and growth is likely to slow in the future.

It’s also spending a lot on developing its own cloud infrastructure, again making a dent in profits in the short term, and its planned one-day Prime shipping rollout is also likely to cost a fair whack in terms of logistics.

Apple spends $30m a month on AWS

Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Apple is spending more money on AWS cloud than any of its competitors, splashing out on average $30m a month on Amazon’s services.

According to CNBC, the company has signed up to a multi-year agreement with the cloud giant, although this may only be a stop-gap until Apple has finished building its own cloud-based infrastructure.

Although AWS and Apple could be viewed as competitors, Apple wants to make sure its customers are serviced as reliably and as fast as possible when using cloud-based services such as iCloud and it has, therefore, turned to what it thinks is the best in the business to do so.

Using AWS is an interesting move by the tech firm, although as it’s now reporting revenues based upon services including iOS App Store, AppleCare, Apple Pay and iCloud, rather than hardware shipments, having some sturdy infrastructure behind it will surely have a positive impact on those figures.

CNBC reports that many other online services companies, such as Pinterest and Lyft are also relying on AWS to deliver services, but their spending is considerably lower, despite building their whole business model upon the cloud.

Despite announcing its plans to create its own network of data centres to support this growing services business, Apple is still looking to accelerate its AWS knowledge and was recently seen advertising for an AWS tech lead to help expand its cloud footprint.

The company has said it expects to invest $10 billion on US-based data centres over five years, with $4.5 billion of that in 2019.

Huawei boosts cloud partner network with Infosys tie-up

Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Infosys has joined the Huawei Cloud Partner Network and will work with the tech giant to develop enterprise-focused cloud services on its cloud platform.

The tie-up means Infosys can help a wider range of customers move to the cloud and take advantage of other cloud-based services available via the Huawei Cloud Partner Network. It will offer a suite of apps and services to specifically benefit customers looking to move workloads to the cloud from on-premise infrastructure.

“Combining Huawei Cloud’s product innovation and Infosys’ strengths in next-generation digital services, we will help our clients accelerate their transition to the cloud,” said Ravi Kumar S., president of Infosys. “As part of this engagement, we will provide a suite of technologies hosted on Huawei Cloud, such as workload migration solutions including SAP and other enterprise workloads.”

At the end of last year, HCPN had onboarded more than 6,000 partners, offering almost 3,000 applications to customers from 40 availability zones in 23 territories.

“With more than 30 years of experience in building ICT infrastructure and a deep understanding of the enterprise market, we believe Huawei has the capabilities to provide, secure, sustainable and innovative cloud services to wide-ranging industries, enabling our clients to accelerate cloud migration and drive business growth,” said Edward Deng, president of Huawei Cloud Global Market. “We hope to further expand the HCPN partner ecosystem by identifying and developing partners such as Infosys with deep consulting expertise.”

He added that the company’s partnership with Infosys will help businesses achieve a more effective project delivery, cutting costs, allowing better alignment of resources and reducing the risks to business.

Equinix extends European cloud footprint by buying AM11 data centre

Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Equinix has bought Switch Datacenters’ AMS1 data centre business in Amsterdam in a deal worth €30 million.

The data centre provider already owns ten data centres in the Netherlands, with eight of these in Amsterdam itself. This newest addition will further boost Equinix’s hold on the Dutch market and increasing its worldwide users to 3.9 billion.

The site not only has the capacity for an additional 700 cabinets, it’s also located in a place that will enable it to expand to an adjacent building with space for another 1,300 cabinets.

“The Netherlands and especially the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is a top destination for global businesses looking to expand into Europe,” said Peter van Bergel CEO of AMS-IX, a long-standing customer and partner of Equinix. 

“There is access to a highly educated and multilingual workforce and a state-of-the art technology infrastructure to meet the digital needs of these businesses.”

He added that businesses are demanding more data centre capacity and interconnectivity and through the purchase, Equinix will be able to address this, while AMS-IX can continue to contribute to the landscape.

Equinix’s AM11 data centre will interconnect with its AM7 data centre, providing a wealth of business services to both existing AMS-IX customers and Equinix clients.

“Amsterdam is a key interconnection point for Europe, with leading enterprises and cloud service providers making it a primary hub for IT infrastructure,” Eugene Bergen, EMEA president at Equinix.

“Adding interconnection capacity in this market enables local and international customers to leverage Platform Equinix to meet their changing business needs. Whether that is to connect to networks, clouds, or content and digital media providers, Equinix is the place to be.”

Salesforce upgrades Sales Cloud with productivity tools

Clare Hopping

24 Apr, 2019

Salesforce has unveiled a raft of productivity features for its Sales Cloud software, helping users save time completing arduous tasks such as admin.

One of the headline features of the Sales Cloud update is the ability for users to view all customer information from their mobile or desktop email inbox. Rather than just being able to see the sender’s name, they are now able to view extra data pulled in from Salesforce, such as account details, contacts and opportunities to discuss at their next meeting.

Additionally, actions are surfaced following meetings, so they can be monitored and ticked off when completed. Notifications are also sent at key milestones, such as when pricing is discussed or a deal is closed.

From a campaign perspective, the Einstein Campaign Insights feature can group together prospects likely to engage with a particular campaign so they can be retargeted with similar campaigns that are likely to result in success. Both sales and marketing teams will have access to these key insights, offering the opportunity to unify efforts across the two departments for conversion.

Sales Cloud’s Social Intelligence Module surfaces an AI-powered social media feed to present conversations to sales teams. These are pooled together from various data points and presented in an easy to digest way, so salespeople can make sure their efforts are in line with their prospects’ expectations. These insights can also be shared with other team members using Chatter.

For High Velocity Sales tool, Salesforce has added sales cadences and work queues to help identify and perfect pitches to new prospects. Complex sales funnels can be addressed with linked sales cadences and work queues can be customised to display the most important prospects’ details in one place.

“With these new productivity features, we’re managing the flow of information so that what you need is surfaced when you need it, all within Sales Cloud,” said Robin Grochol, SVP of product management for Sales Cloud at Salesforce.

“It’s about making every rep more efficient, guiding their focus to the most impactful accounts and tasks, and elevating and upskilling every individual’s performance.”

Salesforce boosts Einstein portfolio to add more AI into the cloud

Clare Hopping

18 Apr, 2019

Salesforce has unveiled a suite of new Einstein features that will enable developers to custom build AI integrations and machine learning into their apps without labouring over code.

The Einstein Platform Services platform has been enhanced to offer developers more advanced tools, including the drag and drop Einstein Translation feature that can translate any object or field seamlessly.

For example, if a business is dealing with a customer whose native language doesn’t match the operator’s language set, they can be re-routed automatically to a staff member that can communicate in the caller’s native tongue.

Einstein Optical Character Recognition reads documents and autonomously updates the records in Salesforce, saving vital resources that are sometimes wasted on such time-consuming tasks, while Einstein Prediction Builder makes use of Einstein’s powerful prediction capabilities, helping admins build AI models on Salesforce fields or objects.

With Einstein Predictions Service, admins are also able to embed these predictions into third-party systems, whether ERP apps, HR apps or other platforms that need a predictive analytics boost. For example, if Einstein predicts that employees are feeling dissatisfied in the workplace, these predictions can be absorbed into a business’s talent management platform to help advise a future retention strategy.

“The promise of AI is no longer reserved for data scientists. With Einstein, we are empowering developers and admins — the lifeblood of every Salesforce deployment — to make customizable AI a reality for their business,” said John Ball, EVP and general manager at Salesforce Einstein.

“But our mission goes beyond just making the technology more accessible, we are committed to democratizing AI that people can trust and use appropriately.”

Microsoft doubles internal carbon tax to drive green data centres

Clare Hopping

17 Apr, 2019

Microsoft has vowed to “do more” to cut down the company’s carbon footprint and its latest initiative is to double its internal carbon fee to $15 per metric ton on all carbon emissions, making its departments accountable for cutting emissions.

It means that each departments’ emissions will be continuously scrutinised and budget must be set aside for the tax. The money raised from this penalty will be re-injected into the company’s carbon neutrality efforts and fund new tech initiatives to boost sustainability.

Some of these funded projects include the development of sustainable campuses and data centres, including its HQs in Washington and Redmond.

“In practice, this means we’ll continue to keep our house in order and improve it, while increasingly addressing sustainability challenges around the globe by engaging our strongest assets as a company – our employees and our technologies,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith.

Microsoft will invest in sustainability data research, analysing information to advise scientists about the state of the planet via schemes such as the AI For Earth Programme.

The Redmond company said it’s going to help its customers build more sustainable futures too, helping them identify how they can be more conscious of the environment and helping them build and reach their own carbon footprint targets.

Finally, the company will push for change. Microsoft announced it’s joined the Climate Leadership Council to help identify and drive forward worldwide initiatives to save our planet.

“Addressing these global environmental challenges is a big task,” Smith added. “Meeting this raised ambition will take the work of everyone across Microsoft, as well as partnerships with our customers, policymakers and organizations around the world. This road map is far from complete, but it’s a first step in our renewed commitment to sustainability.”

Jamf unveils Apple management cloud platform in UK

Clare Hopping

16 Apr, 2019

Jamf has brought its Jamf Premium Cloud service for Apple management to UK servers, meaning customers using the service in the region will be able to continue using it without a hitch following the UK’s split from the EU.

Bringing the Jamf Premium Cloud product to a UK server means businesses in highly regulated industries such as finance and education will be able to ensure their data is stored securely and firmly within the region.

It allows businesses to manage and grant access to IP and network addresses and allow certain users to log into the server without interruption.

Jamf’s premium cloud product allows businesses to white label their own server address too, not only making sure it fits online with company branding but also offering peace of mind to users that it’s the right server.

Previously, the firm’s closest data centre to the UK was in Germany (its only European facility), with additional servers in the US, Japan and Australia. This latest move means Jamf can better tailor its products and services to a UK-focused audience.

“We are excited to bring Jamf Premium Cloud to the U.K. as it will bring flexibility to our customers here,” said Mark Ollila, director, cloud operations at Jamf.

“Jamf users will be able to reap the benefits of the cloud securely, as well as experience additional layers of security and customised branding. As the U.K. prepares to part ways with the EU, the cloud will be an essential tool for British businesses to compete globally, which is why we have launched Jamf Premium Cloud tailored for those in the U.K.”

Dynatrace extends AI-powered software intelligence platform to hybrid mainframe environments

Clare Hopping

15 Apr, 2019

Dynatrace’s Davis AI engine has been updated with support for native support for IBM Z support for CICS, IMS and middleware, to offer end-to-end data visibility in hybrid environments.

It means businesses running a combination of data environments are now able to track performance, whether they’re using a cloud-based set-up, traditional mainframe or both to run their apps.

“While enterprises are moving applications to modern cloud stacks for agility and competitive advantage, these applications often still depend on critical transactions and ‘crown jewels’ customer data residing on IBM Z mainframes,” said Steve Tack, senior vice president of products at Dynatrace.

“This puts pressure on these resources to perform tasks that were not envisioned when the mainframes were launched.”

Although mainframe still leads the worldwide transaction-led infrastructure – powering 30 billion transactions a day – Dynatrace recognises firms are increasingly moving to the cloud to transform their processes. And as they’re making the move to the cloud, Dynatrace explained that organisations are finding “blind spots” in their current back-end monitoring tech.

A slip up, or missed data could mean huge costs for businesses, not to mention performance issues for end-users, lost transactions and other issues that can affect its reputation as well as its bottom line.

“Because Dynatrace provides end-to-end hybrid visibility, customers can optimise new services, catch performance degradations before user impact, and understand exactly who has been impacted by an incident,” Tack added.

“This enables customers to confidently innovate applications that leverage data from mainframes to increase revenue, build brand loyalty, and create competitive advantage.”